A Court of Mist and Fury – Book Review

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Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J Maas
Paperback: 624 pages
Published: May 3rd 2016 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Wow.

This book is infinitely better than its predecessor. I loved it so much more, not only for the characters but for the changes in scenery and the fact that Feyre wasn’t cooped up in a house for the entire book.

Feyre changed so much in this book – she really grew as a character, into her own skin and her role as a Fae. Gone is the helpless little human that she was at the beginning of A Court of Thorns and Roses – now she’s lethal.

If I liked Rhysand from the first book, then I love him now. He also changed in this one, to someone so much better. Well, that being said, all of the first book was technically an act. But he’s…perfect. Imperfectly perfect. He gives Feyre the space and freedom she needs and y’know actually cares about her.

Tamlin, I could do without.
As could the majority of the characters in the book.
I mean. I hate him. He hasn’t grown at all from the first book and is so possessive over Feyre it’s unreal. Despite everything she said to him, everything she pleaded from him, he locked her up in that house.

Lucien…Lucien, I think, can redeem himself. I like him as a character, and although he’s made mistakes, I think he can sort himself out, especially for the sake of Elain.

Nesta and Elain showed up again, and my opinions on them haven’t really changed. I like Elain, she’s sweet, and I love Nesta for being a Queen.

We also got a whole bunch of new characters! Rhys’s Inner Circle were fantastic and I love them all. Mor, Azriel, Amren and Cassian (especially Cassian) made me laugh time and again, and the way that they just took Feyre in is just…they’re her family. If any of them die in the last book, I will cry.
(Yes, Az is my favourite. Yes, I will cry if he dies.)

Speaking of crying, I came close to it in this book, but not quite. That could be because everyone who’s already read it told me I would cry, and  so I was expecting to. There was one part where I very nearly screamed because something shocking just happened, like BAM, but aside from that…nah.

We saw the Summer Court as well, which was fun. I did enjoy those scenes – Tarquin is so sweet, bless him. Poor guy.

The plot of this book was better too! It didn’t drag, it was fast paced, and was so much more gripping than whatever Tamlin was doing back in the Spring Court. I don’t really remember, if I’m being honest. We have an arcing storyline now, and the threat of war from the King of Hybern is engaging enough to make me desperate for the third book to come out.

I’m going to have to bring this up too – this book is graphic, and not in a violent way. There is heavy romance. If you are not into reading that, then I suggest you find a different book (or just skip those scenes), because there are at least three scenes of that nature that I can count of the top of my head.

Anyway – I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone over the age of 16.

Holly xx

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Fifty Bookish Questions Tag

This is a long one, folks! I’m back today with yet another book tag – this time found on My Little Book Blog, where anyone has been tagged to do it! It’s 50 questions, so I’ve tried to answer them as quickly as possible, because we all have things to do and places to be. Without further ado:

1.What was the last book you read?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

2. Was it a good one?

So -so. See my review here.

3. What made it good?

See above! (The characters and the second half of the book is the short answer to that question.)

4. Would you recommend it to other people?

Yes, as long as they’re a fantasy lover

5. How often do you read?

Hmm, not as much as I used to, because exams, but I try to read as much as I can during the holidays.

6. Do you like to read?

Of course

7. What was the last bad book you read?

Ooh…House of Night #1, I’m afraid

8. What made you dislike it?

Lack of character development, mostly. See the full review here.

9. Do you wish to be a writer?

Yes, but at the moment that seems to have taken a back seat

10. Has any book every influenced you greatly?

Most books I read influence me, to be honest. Sometimes the influence is ‘please write a better book than this’.

11. Do you read fan fiction?

Yes, for a whole bunch of different fandoms

12. Do you write fan fiction?

Not so much now, but I used to a couple of years ago *shudders*

13. What’s your favourite book?

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

14. What’s your least favourite book?

I wouldn’t say I have a least favourite. I mean, House of Night ranks up there with the worst, but I don’t really remember any others that are horribly bad.

15. Do you prefer physical books or ready on a device (like a kindle)?

Actually, I quite like to read on my kindle! (Unpopular opinion, I know). I like being able to read immediately – I get so impatient! However, I do own mostly real books because they feel nicer to hold. (Also they look more impressive)

16. When did you learn to read?

At the age of about 4-5, I believe? Sometime in Reception at school.

17. What is your favourite book you had to read in school?

Ooh, that’s tough. I’d have to say Of Mice and Men or perhaps The Tempest (not technically a book, but I love it anyway).

18. What is your favourite book series?

So many. Vampire Academy, Harry Potter, The Infernal Devices…the list goes on.

19. Who is your favourite author?

Rick Riordan, without a doubt. Maggie Stiefvater is a close second!

20. What is your favourite genre?

Fantasy, usually, although I do love a good mystery book.

21. Who is your favourite character in a book series?

Are you seriously asking me to pick one? I have so many favourites it’s unreal.

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

Yes, plenty of times.

23.Which book do you wish had a sequel?

The Night of the Solstice/Heart of Valour by L.J. Anderson are technically a duology, but she’s teased a third book which may or may not ever actually be written. I hope it is!

24. Which book do you wish DIDN’T have a sequel?

Divergent. The first book was decent, then it all went downhill…

25. How long does it take you to read a book?

Depends on whether I’m enjoying it or not – The Hidden Oracle, I read in a day. The Night Circus took me from October to New Year’s Eve. (Les Mis I started last March and am barely half-way through.)

26. Do you like when books become movies?

I actually do!

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?

Ooh…I like most  movie adaptations, if I’m being honest, but I’d have to say The Mortal Instruments.

28. Which movie has done a book justice?

Narnia did a pretty good job. The other one is Holes by Louis Sachar.

29. Do you read newspapers?

I pick one up if it happens to have an interesting title, but aside from that, no.

30: Do you read magazines?

More so than newspapers – I used to read a lot more of them (mostly Girl Talk and teen ones) but nowadays I read far fewer.

31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?

Magazines, for the sole reason of them being more colourful and less likely to fall to pieces if I drop them.

32. Do you read while in bed?

All the time.

33. Do you read while on the toilet?

Occasionally.

34. Do you read while in the car?

I try to, but either get told off because ‘car sickness’ or actually get car sick.

35. Do you read while in the bath?

Not anymore, since I had a close encounter of nearly dropping my book in the bath.

36. Are you a fast reader?

Yes.

37. Are you a slow reader?

…no.

38. Where is your favourite place to read?

My bedroom, either in bed or by the radiator.

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?

Depends on whether I’m engaged with it or not.

40. Do you need a room to be silent while you read?

Nope, I can happily read in the middle of a bustling café.

41. Who gave you your love for reading?

My parents, mostly, considering they both still sit and read all the time.

42. What book is next on your list to read?

I’m halfway through A Court of Mist and Fury (as well as 4 other books)

43. When did you start to read chapter books?

I actually remember this! When I was about six, at school, my teacher was doing guided reading and we read a chapter book.

44. Who is your favourite children’s book author?

Enid Blyton! She wrote so many books and people barely ever know who she is. In case you don’t recognise the name, she’s responsible for the Famous Five, The Secret Seven, The Five Find-Outers, Malory Towers, The Naughtiest Girl in the School, The Twins at St Clare’s, Noddy, The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair, amongst so many others.

45. Which author would you most want to interview?

Can I say Shakespeare? I’m saying Shakespeare.

46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with?

Heh…also Shakespeare.

47. What book have you reread the most?

I don’t re-read books as often as I’d like, but I think Peter Pan has been read a few times by me.

48. Which books do you consider “classics”?

Any of the Penguin Classics or the black and white covered books. You know the ones I’m on about – if not, go to the classics section of your local library and look for them.

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

Ooh…aside from the ones that are already taught (Of Mice and Men, Gatsby, An Inspector Calls, Shakespeare etc.) I’d love to see some of the more childish books in schools again. Peter Pan, Oliver Twist, Alice in Wonderland and that kind of thing.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?

All books are a learning experience, even the bad ones. Don’t ban books.

And that’s me done! Feel free to do this book tag, and tag me so I can read your answers too!

Holly xx

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Book Review

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Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J Maas
Paperback: 416 pages
Published: May 5th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children’s
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Okay, I’ll admit that this has actually been on my to-read list for ages and I’ve been putting it off. However, the combined efforts of my sister and friends finally persuaded me, and I read it.

I’m not disappointed.

Not stunned or bowled over, but pleasantly surprised. Bear in mind that I’ve never read the Throne of Glass Series either, so this is my first voyage into the author’s world.

I liked the book, but I felt that it took a long time to get going. The first half, whilst necessary, is relatively dull. The second half is so much better and the pace really picked up because it became interesting.

Unlike Tamlin.
I have no idea what it was about him, but he just…bored me. He was bland and I’ve read his character a thousand times before with different names. I even prefer Amarantha as a character over him, because at least she’s got something about her.

Feyre, I liked. She was somewhat relatable and she was intelligent, but not Mary-Sueish. She’s very loyal, to the point of stupidity, but then again, so is Percy Jackson and I won’t complain about him.

Lucien is, I think, one of my favourites. He reminds me in many ways of Ariel from Eyes Like Stars and also of Jace Wayland/Lightwood/Herondale etc. because of his snark. The thing is, he’s not all snark, which is sufficient to make him interesting.

Now I’m going to talk about Rhysand.
Holy Hell.
Clearly, he is also my favourite. He’s a roller coaster of a character and at some points I honestly wanted to stab him, but at the same time give him a hug. I’m interested to see what’s going to happen in the second book regarding him and Feyre, considering he seems to genuinely care about her.

I feel like I should also mention my other favourite (yes, I know I have a lot): Nesta. What a Queen. She has a mind like steel and is such a badass that I’m hoping she shows up again in the second book, properly.

There was that one scene that I really liked, where Rhys sneaks into Feyre’s cell for a few minutes to escape from everyone and just lets his walls down. I’m a sucker for heart-to-heart scenes and that one is pretty far up on the list.

I feel like I skipped big parts of the backstory because I found myself skimming the pages telling what had happened. It happened in The Winner’s Curse and The Selection when I found myself having an info-dump in the guise of a history lesson (quite literally). I caught most of what happened, but it felt waaay to big to be resolved in one book by killing one person. Just saying.

In all, I enjoyed the book, but wasn’t dazzled by it – holding out hope for the second book!

Any thoughts?

Holly xx

Perchance to Dream – Book Review

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Title: Perchance to Dream
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Paperback: 341 pages
Published: August 16th 2011 by Square Fish
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads):
Act Two, Scene One
Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn’t know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and is determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.

Enter BERTIE AND COMPANY
But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between –

NATE: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril.

ARIEL: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.

When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’s lair?

Well, this was certainly an interesting read.

I enjoyed it, and once I got into it I finished this book very quickly, but that could be because I found my eyes skipping big chunks of descriptive language.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when authors can paint a picture for me – but sometimes it just gets too overwhelming and winds up detracting from the plot, which it did. I felt that the plot of this book was far weaker than that of the first book, which is a real shame. It seemed to hinge on the love triangle much more, which is getting old.

That being said, there was the whole subplot with Bertie’s father, which is fascinating enough to read about and understand, even if his appearance isn’t an overly long one. Ophelia also doesn’t appear properly in this book, but we do get the story of how she and the Scrimshander met and how they both affect Bertie’s powers.

Going back to the love triangle – this book made me like Ariel, which is something. Or at least, I can tolerate him. I can see why Bertie is falling for him, but I honestly prefer the character of Nate because at least he’s straightforward.
I found the fact that Bertie loves them both equally to be cliché, and was expecting it to be totally honest. That scene didn’t really add much to the story for me, because it was so obviously going to happen.

One scene I did enjoy is the one where Bertie and Ariel are acting out the story of the sun and the moon – at that point I could enjoy the imagery and imagine exactly what was going on.

I think that maybe the reason I’m not so enamoured with this book is that it’s not set in the Theatre, and I miss the setting. Nowhere in this book is permanent, so it feels like an abrupt change to the first book. The new characters don’t feel as well developed in this one either.

The end of the book did feel much stronger than the beginning, but this book feels like a placeholder book. It’s setting the scene for the final book in the trilogy, and I’m holding out hope for it being a stronger ending, at least on a par with the first.

Has anyone else read anything like this, or is willing to give this series a read?

Holly xx